Founded in 1993, the mission of the UAC-CP is to: provide higher education to the poor and marginalized; prepare young men and women who are, called by Christian principle, to serve the poor; guide young adults in their search for truth through education, research, and community service; and integrate the College’s work throughout Bolivia’s rural area.
The College started as a joint effort between the Catholic University of Bolivia in La Paz, the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (MFIC), the Diocese of Coroico, Bolivia, and the sub-central Villa Nilo–a local governing body of the indigenous people, Nor Yungas, Bolivia. The people of Nor Yungas are mainly of Aymaran or Afro-Bolivian decent who, until 1952, were indentured slaves.
Sr. Damon Nolan, MFIC, who was living in the mountainous Yungas region, guided the four groups who were united in their concern regarding the absence of higher education for young people in one of South America’s poorest areas. Building a college, they agreed, would be a way to empower people from the rural area to respond to common problems and needs of the population. In 1992 an agreement was signed with the local farmers’ organization to build the College. Some farmers signed the pact with a thumbprint.
Since the first group of 54 students enrolled for classes at the UAC-CP in January 1994, the College has experienced tremendous growth. Today, nearly 700 students are enrolled for classes and theses work in one of the College’s five academic departments: Veterinary Science, Agronomy, Nursing, Education, and Ecotourism. The College has more than 400 graduates and approximately 150 thesis students.
Within almost 20 years, the UAC-CP has become a vibrant catalyst for economic and social change in one of the poorest areas of Latin America.